Winnebago County families shop with cops

Local News

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — It is the season of giving, and that is what Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies did Saturday.

“Being here with the kids, and bringing them around the store and talking to them about school, and what they enjoy in life and letting pick out whatever they want,” said Winnebago County Deputy Gaelle Tokoto. “So, it’s pretty awesome to put a smile on their faces.”

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Deputies made their presence known at Machesney Park’s Meijer, 1770 W Lane Rd, Saturday morning, not to investigate a scene, but to help families cross off items on their wishlists.

It was Tokoto’s third year participating.

“It’s so awesome to have this community support, and so many people turned out today,” Tokoto said. “So, it’s a hard job, but rewarding.”

Target, Meijer, the Ladies Auxiliary 392 as well as the Fraternal Order of Police donated gift cards for the purchases. On top of that, the Sheriff’s Office raised money to purchase more.

Ten-year-old Shawn Foltz had a few things on his Christmas list.

“Well, I got a drone, and I got a couple cars, and that’s it really,” Foltz said.

Foltz made sure to take his time in picking out the perfect toys.

“Oh yeah, grateful and thankful,” Foltz said.

He was not the only one that was excited about the event. Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said that it was about the kids, and everyone’s overall mental health.

“Watching those kids smile, this is what the season about,” Caruana said. “Letting them enjoy it, it’s about the kids and we love it.”

Tokoto hopes that with the connections she made with these kids, they will feel comfortable asking for help when they need it.

“The end, they are giving you a hug, holding your hand, telling you thank you,” Tokoto said. “It’s a rewarding feeling to be able to do this.”

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